Innovation And Its Discontents

In Time Walter Isaacson turns-in the most straightforward and sensible argument for national education standards that you’re likely to read.  He doesn’t argue for standards as a cure-all but does point out that they’d rationalize the system in some powerful ways that can help with real improvement.

Tom Vander Ark has an interesting new paper out on the role of private capital in education reform (pdf).   And Mario Morino has a broad essay on innovation.   Both are must-reads as they share the theme that public, private, and philanthropic cooperation is required to solve the big challenges the country faces today in education, energy, health care, and the environment.

Also, in the DMN Sandy Kress points out that the data on teacher satisfaction belies some of the doom and gloom you hear.  There is a new NGA policy brief on charter schools (pdf).  Very good stuff, implicitly shows how far behind the curve some states are. 

4 Replies to “Innovation And Its Discontents”

  1. In Walter Isaacson’s essay on the need for national standards he states: “That’s why it would be useful to have the standards-setting body be advised by recruitment officers from the infotech, biotech, medical and, yes, financial sectors.”

    Does he think it might also be useful to have mathematicians from universities involved in the setting of math standards, or does the current edu-fad thinking still prevail that mathematicians know nothing about teaching so leave them out of it?

  2. Walter Isaacson’s article on national standards rings many alarm bells. But one that it should have rung is why no one seems to expect the participation of the nation’s mathematicians, or their two professional societies, in the construction of national mathematics standards for K-12. No other nation would even dream of developing national mathematics standards without a sign-off by the country’s mathematics community. Perhaps the exclusion of mathematicians from meaningful involvement in the shape and assessment of the K-12 mathematics curriculum is one reason that this country’s children do not do as well on the international scene in mathematics as we would like them to do. Massachusetts’ students’ scores in math and science on the 2007 TIMSS suggest that the involvement of mathematicians and scientists in the development of its nationally-recognized mathematics and science standards and assessments made a difference.

    Sandra Stotsky (former senior associate commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Education)
    Currently: Professor of Education Reform, University of Arkansas (479 575 7282)

  3. The Time Magazine article brings up a great point. The standards which different states hold themselves to are all over the map. I linked to both this blog and the Time article in my blog

  4. Out here in California, things are pretty much on hold – we’ve already been cut back and if the new budget thing doesn’t go though, things are going to get pretty bad. Although teachers are still teaching and concerned about education, self-preservation is moving to the forefront – especially in the current us versus them “blame the teachers” climate.

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